The Role of Lactic Acid Accumulation in Muscle Fatigue of Two Species of Anurans, Xenopus Laevis and Rana Pipiens

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Fatigue produced a marked increase in the lactic acid content of hindlimb muscles, the blood, and the whole animal. After 15 min of rest there was little decline of lactic acid levels but the animals could be stimulated into about 3 min of intense activity. This re-fatigue produced a further increase in lactic acid levels. Gastrocnemius muscles removed from fatigued frogs and stimulated in vitro were able to generate initial tensions similar to those in control muscles; total tension was about a third of the control value. In vitrostimulation of these muscles from fatigued frogs led to additional accumulation of lactic acid. Fatigue produced little decrease in the glycogen content of muscles in X. laevis but a marked decrease in R. pipiens. Considerable glycogen stores remained even in the muscles of re-fatigued animals. These data show that accumulation of lactic acid in muscle or blood, depletion of glycogen in muscle, or change in blood pH cannot account for fatigue in these species. Possible other causes of fatigue are discussed.